Approximately 10 volunteers have been completing the process of removing all of the chinking from the Red River Meeting House, so that new chinking can be installed sometime in the month of May. Chinking is the material that rests between the logs of the house, which helps keep the structure sturdy, while keeping the weather out.
According to Richard Moore, president of the Red River Meeting House & Cemetery Association, this is something that needed to be done to protect the house and keep it preserved for future generations. The chinking had been pecked at by birds and the natural wear and tear had caused the material to deteriorate. Thanks to funds set aside by Representative Martha Jane King, as well as private contributions, the project was able to kick off recently.
“We can’t thank enough Mrs. King and all those who donated funds to help with the project,” said Moore. The project is still in need of funds and volunteers, however, and if anyone is interested in helping they can call 270-539-6528.
Chinking is usually a mortar based mixture, sometimes using sand. The chinking that was in the Red River Meeting House was over 20 years old and was made of a Styrofoam substance. Moore says that in the old days chinking was made of mud.
The local company “All Things Construction” will be coming in once the old chinking is removed and put the new material in.
Moore says it’s really amazing how many people come and visit the Red River Meeting House and Cemetery, and they are not all from around these parts. There is a register book at the house for people to sign when they visit, and according to Moore, there have been visitors from as far away as Africa, Japan and several places in Europe.
This is why eventually the Red River board would like to have a full-time caretaker at the meeting house. Someone who could be there to share information and gather it from the visitors as well. This is a future goal, along with restrooms and a pavilion.
The Red River Meeting House and grounds are the site of the beginning of the Great Revival of 1800 and of the first camp meeting in the world on the third Sunday in June, 1800. The cabin was built as a Presbyterian Church. A replica of the log church was constructed on the site and it is now on the National Register of Historic Places.
Hundreds of people have gathered at the meeting house over the years for special events such as at Christmas time for a candlelight service, trade days and each year in the fall for the annual Red River Rendezvous.